Largemouth Bass Fishing: A Beginner’s Guide

Fishing is an activity that dates back thousands of years. Although it was primarily done as a need opposed to a hobby, there is plenty of evidence to suggest a form of fishing was practiced during the Upper Paleolithic period around 40,000 years ago. The earliest instance of fishing for recreation is not known for certain. However, the first ever English essay on the subject matter was published in 1496 and was entitled, Treatyse of Fysshynge wyth an Angle. Since then, many people have taken to the world of recreational fishing in various forms, targeting various different fish. One kind of fishing that’s always been popular throughout the years is largemouth bass fishing.

Why largemouth bass?

You may be wondering what’s so special about largemouth bass that so many people want to fish this species. Well, let me tell you. First, largemouth bass are very well known for their liveliness when trying to catch them. They will often leap out of the water to try and outsmart your fishing rod. Invariably, they fail, but not always, and that’s the thrill of the chase. Another reason as to why they’re so popular to fish for is that they’re so in abundance that the species isn't at risk of becoming endangered anytime soon.

What equipment you’ll need

Fishing for largemouth bass depends on a number of factors, such as water temperature, whether it’s a lake with deep water or shallow water, and the time of year. However, to get yourself started in the world of largemouth bass fishing there’s some basic equipment that you’ll need to have. Other accessories you can choose to add as you go along. The pieces of kit that you just can’t do without if you want to stand any chance of catching that trophy bass, include:

  • Rod and reel: For largemouth bass fishing, anglers tend to use one of two reels: a spinning reel or a baitcasting reel. Most beginners will start off with a spinning reel. This is because they’re much easier to cast and are more versatile in terms of what bait can be used. They’re also a little cheaper than casting rods too. If you do feel confident enough to try a baitcasting rod you’ll find you can cast a much heavier line and get much better precision. A typical rod length for bass fishing is around 8–10 ft.
  • Hook: When it comes to choosing the right hook for your fishing expedition, it can be very daunting as there are so many different types to choose from. Typically, many beginners choose to start off with Extra Wide Gap (EWG) hooks as they have a bigger gap between the shank and the point than standard hooks. Most bass hook sizes are between 1/0–6/0 in size with 1/0 being the smallest.
  • Line: The type of line you will need will depend largely on a number of factors including what type of reel you’re using, where you’re fishing, and the kind of fish you’re trying to catch. All have their pros and cons too. Fluorocarbon line is often used as it’s practically invisible and it sinks. Monofilament line is quite stretchy and is very cheap. The problem is that because it’s so stretchy it’s prone to snapping. Braided line is the strongest line of them all, but is easier for the fish to see. If you’ve chosen to use a spinning rod, the recommended type of line is either fluorocarbon or monofilament in the 6–12 lb range. You can use a braid line if you prefer, but if you do, opt for a heavier one in the 10–30 lb range. If you’ve gone with a baitcasting reel, an even heavier line can be used. For fluorocarbon or monofilament, use a line from the 10–25 lb range, and for braided use a line from the 30–80 lb range.
  • Lure/Bait: It’s another choice that’s largely down to preference. While many people believe that natural bait or live bait is the only way to go, others have reported just as much success using artificial lures and baits. So, the choice really is down to you. Some of the most widely used largemouth bass lures are crankbaits, spinnerbaits, soft plastic jigs, plastic worms, and topwater baits. Crankbaits come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and generally those that have at least two natural colors work best. Spinnerbaits take a little getting used to when it comes to knowing if you’ve got a bite on your hook and not one of the spinning blades. However, once you have mastered how to use them, they can produce excellent results all year round. Soft plastics are probably the most often used type of lure when it comes to bass fishing as they’re easy to use, come in a range of options, and resemble real fish food. Topwater baits are not for the faint hearted. Designed to target the hungriest of fish, these lures pop and move in the water. The popping is supposed to mimic a sick or dying fish.

If you’re going down the natural route and using bait, there are certain baits that tend to work well when fishing for largemouth bass. Minnows are good to use as they’re cheap and can be picked up from just about anywhere. These are often used when fishing from the shore. If out in the open water, one of the best baits to use is shad. Crayfish is another bait that’s very popular to use as its pungent scent is hard for the fish to resist.

Where’s the best place to fish for largemouth bass?

Largemouth bass can be found pretty much in any lake, pond, reservoir or river. It’s actually the state fish of Indiana, Mississippi, and Georgia. Largemouth bass are freshwater game fish that like shallow waters with muddy floors. One place they’re often found is among weed beds as they provide adequate protection for the fish against predators. They also like to be close to the bank or where bait fish can easily become trapped.

Hopefully, you will know have a much better idea as to the kind of equipment that largemouth bass fishermen use and where to go to start catching your next supper. Just remember to check out any state fishing laws and regulations before you go else you may be the one getting caught!